[Wg-mwp] Comments on WG-MWP work and proposal on IGF outputs

THOMAS-RAYNAUD Elizabeth elizabeth.thomas-raynaud at iccwbo.org
Thu Nov 9 12:20:22 EST 2017


In advance of the next discussion on this, I'd like to address some of the points in the remarks further to what Timea posted.

We cannot support going forward on this model of 'rough consensus' and its application by Jeremy in this case highlights exactly why - it begs the question what accountability is that statement based on? Certainly not one we feel that people reasonably expect in the MS-model. Outputs created and endorsed in this proposed fashion, risk repelling business and governments that are already underrepresented and for whom IGF is one of many venues they engage in on policy matters. Business and governments and even technical sector are underrepresented in every or almost every intersessional activity already undertaken in the pursuit of 'tangible outputs'.

Our point is not to block work but not say yes to everything and to continue to overwhelm ourselves with more and more parallel efforts when we haven't got the ones already started in a place to serve the goal. It makes no sense to pursue more and more before putting in processes that correct the flaws and notable imbalances. Otherwise talking about processes for making outputs 'endorsed' as MS IGF outputs is academic.

We currently fail to see an unaccountable 'rough consensus' as the road to get there but when the time comes to talk about it, we think the community should be available and engaged. As is clear from the low participation in the working group discussion on this, that is not the case - people are overstretched.

It is a concern to business stakeholders represented by ICC BASIS that this proposal has been detracting the focus of this group rather than addressing the issue of particular concern in the WSIS review (underrepresented populations) and other important existential priorities targeted for this working group (sustainable funding, venues etc). That is the work many of us signed up to the group to address. As Timea pointed out, proposals with CSTD, retreat process legitimacy are being deliberated on still in the IGF Improvements WG and letting this proposal that does not reflect that level of representative input and deliberation jump that queue is not where business feels this working group should be investing its focus and the opportunity cost for IGF of doing so is high.

As many know, ICC BASIS is not a person or one business perspective, we are representing business voices across the membership and the reason we took longer than you wished for us to respond to you is because we have a consultative process - gathering input from others, formulating a common view and sharing it again to be accountable and making sure it was reflective of the various perspectives. I realise that it's more impressive to have multiple members speak directly to reinforce the same message but the fact is companies engage organizations like ours because they don't have the bandwidth to cover all fronts. Also many companies would not know or engage if we didn't make the effort to reach out and interact with them to raise awareness and importance of this work. It is unreasonable to move to decision by 'rough consensus' where that depends on who is in the room or on the call with no standards for representation or balance. If this is the practice going forward, we can predict that those governments and business with limited resources to devote and much to risk by being counted even when unable to be present would rather disengage than the contrary. That would not only make IGF more vulnerable but also less legitimate. This working group is what we pressed for in the first MAG as a vehicle to work together on making IGF stronger in a time where that is critical.

I know that latter interest is one we share so I look forward to this group discussing how best to work from that common interest and go forward.
Kind regards,

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Project Director, ICC Business Action to Support the Information Society (BASIS)
Senior Policy Executive, Digital Economy

From: Wg-mwp [mailto:wg-mwp-bounces at intgovforum.org] On Behalf Of Jeremy Malcolm
Sent: 07 November 2017 07:35
To: wg-mwp at intgovforum.org
Subject: Re: [Wg-mwp] Comments on WG-MWP work and proposal on IGF outputs

On 6/11/17 9:08 am, SUTO Timea wrote:

In our opinion, it is premature to ask the WG-MWP to work on the proposal put forward. We view it as rather a possible solution offered in response to some of the recommendations currently being evaluated by WG-IMP that call for more "tangible outcomes".  In our understanding, discussions on this proposal are out of place in that it would add new work items  and detract from the important work the WG-MWP should address as a priority - notably contributing to the strategic deployment of existing activities.

For this reason we suggest the proposal should rather  be discussed sequentially following the assessment of the WG-IMP and considered in view of all other proposals and recommendations already made to improve the IGF by exploring "tangible outcomes".

Even so, there are some people who want to get working on it now.  There is no harm in them doing so.  In fact, it is probably better that work begin on it now, so that the option paper is ready to be presented once it is ready for the working group to begin to address it sequentially.

Discussing this proposal in WG-MWP not only overlaps with the work of WG-IMP, but also circumvents the mandate and work of WG-IMP and creates a scenario where this particular proposal is leapfrogging others already made in the past years through open and collaborative channels.

I don't think it's quite accurate to characterise it as a "particular proposal" that is "leapfrogging others".  Rather than being a single proposal as this suggests, it's an attempt to consider in very broad terms a range of possible activities, approaches, or methodologies that we *aren't* currently using... to add to the consideration of those we already are.

Other than from ICC BASIS it was my sense of the last two meetings that we had a rough consensus in favour of at least doing that much.  It had seemed, after so long, that we were finally advancing in the level of ambition of what we could even *discuss*.  It would be a shame if this discussion were to be blocked.


Jeremy Malcolm

Senior Global Policy Analyst

Electronic Frontier Foundation


jmalcolm at eff.org<mailto:jmalcolm at eff.org>

Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161

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